Book review: Suryavamsha - The Noble Kings of Ancient India
Author Manjunath Dattatreya’s book Suryavamsha – The Noble Kings of Ancient India, as per its name, is an account of some the famous and interesting kings belonging to the Suryavamsha dynasty; also known as Solar Dynasty. But the book isn’t limited to that.
In the starting portions, it explores the phenomena of mythology and whether it should be considered a part of history. Likewise, it also gives an account of the mythological incidents from other religions. In fact, the book also gives provides an atheistic version of the legends.
Hence, before the book starts exploring the stories of the kings belonging to the Suryavamsha dynasty of Ayodhya, you get a pretty good background of its backstory. And once the stories of various kings are narrated one after the other, the book becomes a joyride.
One might believe that among the ancient rulers of Ayodhya, only Dashrath and his son Rama are the most important. But the book breaks that myth and presents the fascinating stories of a large number of other kings from the dynasty.
It’s impossible to list down the stories of all the kings from the said dynasty in under 200 pages because there are as many as 118 [the book gives a list in the end].
The most noteworthy chapters from the book include the one on river Ganga and how it started flowing in India, the story of kings Trishanku, Harishchandra, Khatvanga, Pareekshit and, of course, lord Rama.
Among these stories, the idea about accepting death and living every moment of life narrated in the stories of Khatvanga and Pareekshit is the most profound message of the book.
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Suryavamsha also gives a fine account of the whole life journey of sage Vishwamitra. The story of him becoming a revered sage from being just a king is fascinating and full of lessons.
The type of language used plays a big role not only in creating an impact but also in making it an engaging read. Dattatreya has kept the language as simple as possible, thereby making it easy even for those from vernacular medium. But at the same time, the richness of the language is retained.
In today’s times, English fiction is known for bad to mediocre editing. But Suryavamsha has got it right on this front as well.
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Poornima Shankar’s simple yet effective illustrations in every chapter complements the storytelling.
The book doesn’t have any major negative point as such. It’s just that the length of the starting chapters could have been reduced in order to quickly get onto the stories of the kings.
Overall: Suryavamsha – The Noble Kings of Ancient India is a knowledgeable and enjoyable read.
Author: Manjunath Dattatreya
Number of pages: 160
Publisher: Notion Press